What Are the Health Benefits of Corn?

The United States produces more corn than any other country, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The primary location for corn production is in the Midwest in an area known as the corn belt that includes Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Long before modern corn cultivation practices began, Native Americans grew corn and introduced it to the European settlers. The bountiful nutrition it provides sustained them through the harsh winters of the New World.

Good Source of Protein

A 1-cup serving of corn provides 5 grams of protein, which is about 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance. The protein you’ll get from corn contains all of the essential amino acids, but does not have a sufficient amount of lysine to be considered a complete protein. You can fill in the lysine you need by consuming beans, eggs, poultry and lean meat. You don’t need to eat complete proteins at every meal, as long as you eat a variety of foods over the course of one day and get your recommended daily allowance. Women should consume 46 grams of protein daily, while men need 56 grams.

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Folate for Metabolism

Your body depends on folate to metabolize DNA and protein. This B vitamin is especially important for women who may become pregnant, because it prevents birth defects that occur in the first few weeks after conception. It also helps convert an amino acid — homocysteine — into S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMe. As a result, homocysteine is removed from your bloodstream, which may protect your heart because high levels of homocysteine can damage your blood vessels. Additionally, SAMe is vital for other metabolic processes, such as producing neurotransmitters. A 1-cup serving of cooked corn contains 34 micrograms of folate, or 9 percent of your recommended daily allowance.

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